VIDEO: The Things an Immigration Attorney Can Do & The Things They Cannot Do

What are the ways that an immigration attorney can help me with my case, and what are the ways that an immigration attorney can’t really help me with my case? I am Jim Hacking, immigration attorney here in St. Louis Missouri. We had an interesting interaction with a fellow off the website this week. He was asking about obtaining an employment visa for a niece of his spouse, and that niece was a nurse back in her home country, and she was hoping to come to the United States on an H-1B visa.

Now, as an aside, H-1Bs for nurses are very difficult because typically, nursing jobs don’t require a college degree, which takes some out of the bit of the H-1B visa process, but during the interaction, he was … We were going back and forth on how the process could work and he asked me, “Where do I find one of these jobs?”, and I said, “Well, that’s outside my area of expertise. I’m not really a headhunter. I’d be happy to help you if you can find the employer, but that’s on you.”

He wrote back and he said, “Oh Jim, I thought you were like a magician and you just had these employers in your backpocket.” He made me laugh with his interaction, but it also touches on an issue that comes up from time to time in our office. We are immigration lawyers, so we help people with their immigration issues. We’re not an employment service. We’re not a dating service, so a lot of times, people will ask us, sometimes kiddingly, sometimes seriously, if we can help them find the sponsoring entity that will allow them to stay in the United States.

We’ve had people ask if we know anyone who could marry a potential client. We’ve certainly had people ask if we could help them find a job in the United States. This is really outside the role of the immigration attorney. I think most people get that, but we wanted to make this video to make that clear.

Our role as immigration counselors is to advise you of your rights, to process your rights, to do the paperwork for you and to interact with the Federal Government in all the ways that we do in order to strengthen your case and to make it as positive as possible, but we can’t help you find a job. We can’t help you find a spouse, and we can’t help you find a sponsor.

A lot of times, this issue comes up where people, as part of the immigrant visa process, have to file what’s called an affidavit of support, where they’re asked to document that if the immigrant beneficiary comes to the United States, that they would be able to financially support that immigrant. Well, sometimes these people don’t make enough money and they need what’s called a co-sponsor and they ask us for help in finding the co-sponsor.

We don’t get involved in that part of the process. We don’t even advise the co-sponsors on whether or not they should or shouldn’t be willing to serve as a co-sponsor because they are on a scale that’s different than our clients and they have a different interest. Our job is to protect our clients’ interest and we really don’t get involved in advising the co-sponsor as to whether or not they should sign that affidavit of support.

Another thing that I tell people a lot of the times is look, we can tell you the immigration consequences of the decisions that you’ve made or of the immigration options in front of you and let you decide how you live your life. We understand that people have all kinds of various issues and reasons for the decisions that they make and we don’t chastise people or really get involved in that, but we do tell them the immigration consequences of that.

We tell them what we can do as immigration attorneys, what we can’t do as immigration attorneys, and we can tell them whether their plan, from an immigration stance, makes sense and will work or we tell them that their plan won’t work. That’s really all we can do. We don’t get involved in the actual lives of our clients. We just help them with the forms and paperwork and advocacy that they need in order to make their case as strong as possible.

It’s a clear distinction in our mind. Immigration stuff, yes absolutely, we will fight for you and work with you and do everything we can to help you, but we can’t really get involved in the interactions of your daily life and the people and life decisions that you come across and that you make. If you have any questions about this, if this doesn’t make sense or if you’d like me to explain it to you a little bit further, pick up the phone and give us a call, (314) 961-8200 or you can email me at jim@hackinglawpractice.com. Thanks.